Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Joy of the Master

“Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25.23)

Last article I emphasized the real possibility of enjoying the Bible. This message is the invitation to enter into the joy of the master.

            For many people, life is a difficult struggle. Indeed across the world, for many people life’s enjoyment is destroyed by poverty, war, religious hatred, broken relationships, unfair treatment etc    Is there any relief or hope in being a Christian? Yes, in two ways. In this life, one of the fruits of the Spirit is ‘ joy’ (Galatians 5). In the next life, the promise for the believer is ‘fullness of joy’ (Psalm 16).

Are there any conditions for us having this joy?   Yes, it is for those who whole-heartedly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Unbelief is a killer and indifference leaves a person out in the cold, but for those who  acknowledge their sin against God and believe in His Son Jesus Christ the Lord who died and rose again, the prospects are ‘joyful’.
I need to explain – the Lord Jesus promised to His followers persecution, difficulties, discrimination etc, but  with this He promised by the indwelling Holy Spirit, who would enable  love , joy , peace. He actually made it more personal. He said to the eleven faithful followers “ My peace I  give unto you” This makes His blessing , not so much receiving a thing, but the receiving of a person. So let us remember it is His love, His joy, His peace, His goodness, His gentleness  and more that He gives. The final blessing of the future, is for us to enjoy His glory and to see His face.

Well might we pause and say to Him “ I will be yours and yours forever”. 
It was the Lord Himself who said “Come to ME all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take MY yoke upon you and learn of ME, and you will find rest for your souls”. (Matthew 11.28) I emphasize, this is about knowing HIM, trusting HIM, letting Christ dwell in your hearts.

What then is ‘joy’.  Happiness happens if all is going well or we can ignore the negatives.  Joy is the inner delight in God that is not controlled by outward circumstances. The Lord Jesus was criticized, maligned, and finally killed, but in it all His delight was to do the will of God. Many times we read of Him spending time alone in prayer with God His Father. This delight in knowing and communing with His Father was the source of His inner joy. Above this we read of a special joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12) – the joy that He would share the future of heaven with those for whom he died. This is the ‘joy of the master’ we began with.  For the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, the prospect in the next life of sharing heaven with The Lord of Glory, gives real abiding joy.

Let us then trust HIM, and let us wait for HIM to return from heaven, overcoming in the difficulties of life by the joy of His  presence now and and to with Him forever.

  “ Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!”    Philippians 4.4

John McKee

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